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Match Previews

Match Preview: Wrexham vs Swindon Town

A first visit to North Wales since 2009

18 August 2023

Match Previews

Match Preview: Wrexham vs Swindon Town

A first visit to North Wales since 2009

18 August 2023

Town kick-started their away league campaign in the best possible fashion, with a dramatic late win at Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday evening, and will be looking to make it two from two when they travel to promoted side Wrexham on Saturday.

The Reds, now on four points after two games played, will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten league start to 2023/24, and make a statement against a Wrexham team that many have tipped to win promotion from League Two in their first season back in the EFL.

 

A lowdown on the hosts

Wrexham AFC, formed in 1864, are the oldest football club in Wales and the third-oldest professional football team in the world. Their formative years were spent largely in friendlies and cup competitions, before taking part in a number of local leagues, including the Welsh Senior League and Birmingham and District League.

After nearly 40 years in the Football League’s Northern section, Wrexham were re-organised into the Third Division in 1958, and spent the majority of the remainder of the 20th century in England’s fifth and sixth tiers, before successive promotions saw them back in the fourth tier in 1993.

At the turn of the millennium, Wrexham struggled to financially stay afloat, and fell back into the fifth tier in 2002, and then again in 2008. Their 15-year stay in the National League will have lasted much longer than many might have expected, but after investment from Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2020, the Red Dragons finally secured an elusive return to the EFL as champions.

 

Last time out

Saturday’s fixture has not been played for more than 14 years, due to Wrexham’s position in the National League, and the two sides last met in the FA Cup second round, in November 2009.

It was Town who were victorious that day at The Racecourse, with Gordon Greer’s goal on 80 minutes enough to separate the sides and send the Robins through to the third round.

 

Head-to-head

09/10: Wrexham 0-1 Swindon Town

06/07: Swindon Town 2-1 Wrexham

06/07: Wrexham 2-1 Swindon Town

04/05: Swindon Town 4-2 Wrexham

04/05: Wrexham 2-1 Swindon Town

 

The manager: Phil Parkinson

Phil Parkinson, a former player, spent the majority of his career at Reading, where he racked up more than 360 appearances over 11 years.

At the end of his playing career, Parkinson took his first steps into management at Colchester United, where he eventually resigned after three years and an impressive promotion to the Championship in 2006.

The 55-year-old would go on to manage Hull City, Charlton Athletic, Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland prior to his appointment at Wrexham in the summer of 2021.

In his first season, the Red Dragons missed out on promotion to League Two after losing narrowly on penalties in the play-off semi-final, having finished the season in second place.

Last term, however, Parkinson led Wrexham back to the EFL in impressive fashion, securing promotion as champions of the National League and amassing 111 points in the process - a record total for the top five divisions of English football.

 

One to watch: Ollie Palmer

Having lost star striker and last season’s top scorer Paul Mullin to injury in pre-season, Wrexham has hoped to replace his goals with experienced hitman Ollie Palmer.

The 31-year-old, who joined the Welsh club for a club-record fee in January of last year, has so far scored an impressive 32 goals in 66 games under Phil Parkinson, and looks the perfect candidate to step up in Mullin’s absence.

Palmer opened his League Two scoring account for Wrexham on Tuesday evening as the Red Dragons saw off Walsall, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally of goal contributions (one goal, one assist) on the weekend.


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